Amazing a few months ago. And yet, it’s true today. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta met on Friday with opposition leader Raila Odinga for the first time since his controversial reelection in October. And the two “brothers” promised to reconcile the country.
After a surprise meeting in the president’s office, the two men symbolically read a joint statement, side by side.
Calling each other “my brother”, they announced launching “a program” aimed at bridging the ethnic and political divides that have long traversed Kenya. However, they did not provide any details on what exactly this plan could imply.
We have arrived at a common agreement, an agreement according to which this country is bigger than any individual
“We have reached a common agreement, an agreement that this country is bigger than any individual and for this country to come together, its leaders must come together,” Kenyatta said.
Mr. Odinga echoed these comments. “Throughout our history since independence, we have had doubts about how we conduct our affairs in the face of growing divisions along ethnic, religious and political lines,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we have responded to our challenges essentially by fleeing them (…) The time has come to confront and resolve these differences,” added the former prime minister.
The last presidential election in 2017 was marked by the annulment of a first ballot, tainted by irregularities, then by a second exercise boycotted by the opposition.
Outgoing President Kenyatta was consequently re-elected with 98% at the end of this two-stage presidential election marked by political violence that left at least 100 victims, most of them killed by the police.
However. The surprise meeting of Kenyatta and Odinga took place a few hours before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s official visit to Nairobi. The US administration, among others, has called in recent months the two protagonists to meet to get out of the political crisis.
What to deduce that the initiative seems to proceed with protocol and diplomatic requirements. It is feared that the two men will be overtaken by their “tics” to continue to offer Kenyans and the world disloyalty and political cynicism.